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Compressed Vice
Bender: It's just... neither of us can get up when we get knocked on our back.
Fry: What? I've seen you get up off your back tons of times.

The plotline has a character display some vice, flaw, prejudice, or other negative attribute/behavior, which said character has never before this point shown any signs of suffering from, but which they then engage in solely as the setup for some sort of One Shot gag or An Aesop. (In some cases, the plot claims/suggests that they've always had this problem, even though previous episodes show otherwise.) It then vanishes totally after the end of the gag and/or plot. Sometimes this is meant to serve as Character Development, but due to the entire process being constrained to that one single episode, it's not very convincing. If the creators are more consistent about the issue, it becomes a largely Informed Flaw which drives several distinct episodes, but still is never observed in a character outside them. Shows up frequently in Very Special Episode, although rarely in the Too Smart for Strangers variant for obvious reasons...

This is distinct from writers adding enduring flaws to a Flat Character, or hypocrisy no one notices with Moral Dissonance. If the character has to try to lose the vice in the same episode, they'll find Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere (but will usually not get Flowers for Algernon Syndrome afterwards).

Compare Compressed Abstinence, Long-Lost Uncle Aesop, Can't Get Away with Nuthin' , Characterization Marches On.

This trope is a sub-trope of Backstory of the Day.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • ×××HOLiC manages to give a Compressed Vice to a character who only appears in two episodes. After Watanuki manages to help convince a shy girl that her negativity is cursing her to fail and that she should try to be more positive, her more upbeat and outgoing twin suddenly turns into the sister from hell, psyching her out even worse than she ever did to herself until the poor girl is on her knees and paralyzed by the feelings of uselessness her sister is laying on her. Then, after Yuuko intervenes and the Aesop is learned, all is sunshine again.
  • Himitsu no Akko-chan, the original 1969 series, manages to wish a Compressed Vice to the main character, just to scare her into her personal Aesop. In episode 32, aptly named "_____", upon meeting a deaf-mute kid, Akko-chan, out of empathy and curiosity, wishes to her magic mirror to be a deaf-mute version of herself. Upon discovering that, being speechless, she can't wish anymore, and she'll be stuck that way forever, Akko-chan breaks apart, feeling scared and useless until the mirror, reasoning that she got her Aesop about hasty wishes and physical ailments, and she understood the true courage of her new friend (who will never be seen around for the rest of the series), lifts the wish on its own accord.
  • On more than one occasion in the Pokémon anime, Ash has gotten so full of himself specifically to get a Break the Haughty moment by the end of the episode, and then go back to being a reasonably humble trainer afterwards. Instances of this include his battles with Prima, Brawley, and Drake of the Elite Four. May also got this in one of her contests when she gained a Coordinator Superiority Complex out of nowhere and was reprimended for it, and then it never comes up again.
  • The original Japanese version of Digimon Adventure 02 gave Hikari a crippling reliance on her brother in the infamous Dark Ocean episode. It may have been an attempt to keep her from looking too perfect, but while she does freak out at the Dark Ocean in a later episode, she doesn't mention Taichi at all.
  • Louise in Familiar Of Zero went through a rapid descent into gambling addiction while trying to go undercover. Despite Saito's best attempts to stop her, she wagered larger and larger amounts until she finally placed all of their remaining funds on one bet, all without winning a single time.

    Comic Books 
  • In Blackhawk #240 (which is towards the end of the New Blackhawk Era), André Blanc-Dumont has been given a crippling fear of beautiful women. He declares himself cured after punching out a man disguised as a woman. Click here for an in-depth recap.
  • Many authors who worked on Iron Man gave Tony Stark's alcoholism a spin of their own, thus making him a borderline example. This trope applies largely because it is always restricted to specific plotlines. Outside these plots, he may be seen drinking but is never shown having this habit as a problem. Nevertheless, he is somewhat well known for this aspect of his character and there's no guarantee he won't go on a drinking binge again whenever someone decides they can make an innovative take on it.
  • In the early 90's the Spider-Man comics had an infamous period where Mary Jane revealed right out of the blue that she used to be a smoker and a bunch of different stressful events all happening at once (such as Harry Osborn reverting back to his Green Goblin personality and the arrival of Carnage) caused her to have a relapse and take it up again. It lasted for roughly a year and a half or so before Peter was able to get her to drop the habit, and true to this trope, was never brought up again after.

    Literature 
  • A staple of The Berenstain Bears; each book usually had Brother and/or Sister (sometimes Papa too) engaging in some kind of immoral or unhealthy behavior such as lying, eating junk food, fighting, teasing, etc. They never exhibited the behavior before and after the book ends, it's never brought up again.
  • The Help Me Be Good series by Joy Berry are juvenile books that examine a vice in each title such as fighting, tattling, destroying possessions, and overeating. Each book would talk about the misbehavior, explain its aspects, how it hurts you and others, and strategies for overcoming it. Justified as the books are intended as education and self-help resources.

    Live Action TV 
  • An episode of The Golden Girls revealed that Rose has been addicted to prescription strength pain-killers for decades. It also strongly implied that her perpetually sweet disposition is at least partially the result of taking these drugs. Despite the coda of the episode having her statement that she'll be fighting this addiction the rest of her life (albeit filled with hope that she can pull it off), it's never truly referred to again. Similar events happened to Dorothy, who had two relapses of former addictions she had beaten (smoking and gambling.) Aside from the episodes in question, they were never mentioned again.
  • Joey from Blossom hates a gay guy in one episode, revealing a prejudice that hadn't previously been mentioned in the show. Later in that episode, his black sister-in-law tells him a story about how she faced discrimination as a child, causing him to renounce his prejudice as quickly as he developed it.
  • A particularly offensive episode of Lizzie McGuire featured her pal Miranda becoming anorexic and then getting over it within the course of a week. It also had Gordo becoming addicted to Deeandeeaproximine... and then getting over it within the course of a week.
    • Lizzie became an over-the-top Granola Girl for a few days.
  • An episode of The Facts of Life has Sue Ann getting, and recovering from, anorexia.
  • D.J. became worried about her weight in an episode of Full House. She didn't eat for three days straight and was over-exercising. Danny helped her realize that her crash-dieting can eventually lead to developing an eating disorder.
  • An episode of Diff'rent Strokes has Kimberly getting bulimia.
  • An episode of Spin City had Carter trying to quit smoking, despite having never been seen touching tobacco before (or since). This episode also featured Paul getting addicted to nicotine gum.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, "Guide to School Records"- Ned is a well-intentioned, "smart but lazy" kid in the rest of the series, but this episode shows him pulling all sorts of deliberately mean pranks on his way to accruing the biggest permanent record in the school. Flashbacks are used, which (unusually for the show) were filmed just for this episode, not taken from earlier ones, further playing up the trope.
  • If a young attractive female character is introduced to a series and some fuss is made over the "fact" that she smokes, then it is near certain that that will be the last time that she is seen with tobacco, or that it will even be mentioned. Examples-
    • Lois Lane in Smallville;
    • Mimi Clark in Jericho;
    • Marissa Taylor in the defunct Australian comedy/drama Always Greener. Admittedly this last one could be regarded as just a set-up for a joke about an exploding cow, but credibility was stretched in a later episode where she stood right next to another character who was smoking, without batting an eyelid.
    • Gia from Full House
  • A particularly extreme example appeared on Rome, with the reveal that Octavian was deeply in love with (as in, wanted to have sex with) his own sister. Not only had nothing even hinting about this ever come up before, but the episode itself has zero hints about it until Servilia lets his sister know— which actually justifies it, as he was clearly very good at keeping it secret.
  • Friends
    • In "TOW The Thumb". When the others berate Chandler for his smoking, he rattles off a list of their annoying habits that he puts up with, such as Joey's knuckle-cracking, Phoebe chewing her hair and Monica snorting when she laughs. None of them ever came up before (though this is understandable, since it's only the third episode), or after. The one about Ross overpronouncing every word applies, though.
    • Ridiculously played straight with Chandler's shyness and inability to even talk to attractive girls in "The One With The Cheap Wedding Dress" (where Joey and Ross try to date the same girl). In the entire series preceding that point, although he was usually unlucky in love in the long run, he'd been shown as an admirably competent pickup artist capable of striking up conversations and dispensing hilarious off-the-cuff witticisms with attractive women in almost any situation. He occasionally struck out, but he'd certainly never had a problem talking to any of them.
    • An episode that shows less respect for continuity comes in the Season Five New Year's episode where Rachel suddenly turns into a gossip who can't shut up about her coworkers' dirty laundry. The whole thing turns out to be a plot device to launch us into a Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere plot as Rachel resolves to stop gossiping, and then immediately discovers the unkeepable secret that Chandler and Monica are doin' it.
  • Aesops about snoring tend to suffer from this, as characters spontaneously develop the habit and then no reference is made to this afterwards. Examples include Joey from Friends (Chandler can suddenly hear him through the wall after living with him for five years with no problem), Charles Winchester from M*A*S*H (due to allergies), and Homer Simpson from The Simpsons (he suddenly starts snoring loudly after years of sleeping with his wife).
  • Done in Red Dwarf where the crew is forced through the air ducts of Starbug. Lister is revealed to have claustrophobia. Subverted somewhat when Cat lists a number of examples where he's been trapped in a confined space and didn't freak out, naturally this didn't help Lister.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Worf was the victim of this in the episode where a genderless alien species showed up, and he was saying things like it being "unnatural" and the like. This particular prejudice wasn't seen previously in all the cases where he met aliens who didn't have a traditional gender setup, and never appeared again.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • When Odo becomes involved with the Female Changeling in "Behind the Lines" and "Favor the Bold," he becomes utterly obsessed with linking. Given that their linking scenes have the feel of love scenes, and that he neglects other duties to link with her, his actions seem to be a metaphor for sex addiction. Oddly enough, he never demonstrated this kind of obsession with linking when he melded with fellow Changelings before or afterwards.
    • There was a late episode, where there was a homicidal shapeshifter on the station, and the other main characters responded by revealing their prejudice against shapeshifters, which had never been hinted at before, even after years of fighting a Dominion run by shapeshifters. Might have been partly explained by that particular shapeshifter constantly harping about how everyone else was prejudiced against him for being so superior to them (which inclined them to treat him like a jerk). Odo's friends make an effort to be nice to the stand-offish stranger at first, but he brushes them off and accuses them of trying to make Odo an Uncle Tom.
  • Similar example in Star Trek: Voyager, in an episode where the Doctor found out that Janeway had tampered with his memories to prevent him going "insane" over an old triage case, and Janeway and the entire crew suddenly seemed to develop an anti-AI prejudice which then immediately vanished again next episode.
    • Made worse because another episode had them arguing the Doctor was a person, not just an AI, when he was denied rights over the publishing of his holonovel for being a hologram.
    • Huh? The question of just how much rights the Doctor has comes up several times over the course of the series. It's not a sudden "anti-AI prejudice" but a matter of friends like Kes and Seven (and eventually the Doctor himself) recognising that a computer program created as an emergency backup system has needs (and later — rights) and convincing others to recognise that.
    • It's more a case of the show bordering on Negative Continuity and being very fond of the Reset Button, so characters constantly keep learning and forgetting the same lessons. The result is that whether or not the other characters recognise the Doctor as a person varies according to the plot.
  • This happens all the time in Degrassi.
  • Tommy from 3rd Rock is revealed in one episode to have been hiding sandwich bags full of spices to indulge his secret cooking hobby in secret ("It's marijuana, I smoke it with friends I swear!"). This is never mentioned again.
  • M*A*S*H: the plot of episode "C*A*V*E" is based on Hawkeye's suffering from crippling claustrophobia, which had never been mentioned before and was never referred to again.
  • Likewise Commander Straker in the UFO episode "Sub-Smash". He develops claustrophobia on a submarine despite operating numerous times in spacecraft which should give him similar problems.
  • The Professionals: In "Klansmen" Bodie displays overt racist behaviour never shown previously by his character; it's not that such tendencies would be unusual in that era, especially from a decidedly working-class bloke like Bodie, but it was completely out of left-field and due to the events of the episode (in which his life is saved by a black doctor) we never see it again. Actor Lewis Collins was not pleased.
  • Subverted in the Malcolm in the Middle episode where Francis turns out to have been in AA despite never having been shown getting drunk in previous episodes. The other characters find out that he had all the signs of alcoholism except for drinking.
  • How I Met Your Mother
    • An episode deals with the annoying habits of the group. The bad habits of Ted, Marshall, Barney and Robin are noticeable prior to the episode (although Robin's misuse of the word was subtle before it was pointed out), and they still have them in later episodes. Lily's habit of chewing too loudly is a true Compressed Vice, as it appeared only for that episode. Justified in later episodes featuring the characters throwing "interventions" to stop each other's similar minor annoying habits: though Barney's use of magic was featured in previous episodes, other characters' habits had just never been incorporated into Future Ted's unreliable narration.
      • Lily is a frequent victim of this. One episode gave her a complete inability to aim just because the episode was about the group's blind spots in regards to common knowledge (something that doesn't even follow the main theme anyway...), and another episode claimed she had many similarities to Marshall's father just because the episode was about the psychological tendency to end up with someone like your parents.
    • Another episode shows all five characters being habitual cigarette smokers. Previously, Barney, Robin and Lily had been seen smoking cigars, and it was hinted that Robin smoked cigarettes, but this episode portrayed Robin as practically a chimney. The other characters don't smoke nearly as often, but obviously way more than has ever been let on before. Ted's children are stunned at the news. Justified, as Future Ted on-occasion realizes he forgot to mention seemingly-obvious plot points until they became relevant to the story.
  • Saved by the Bell: Jessie Spano's one-episode caffeine pill addiction.
  • Blair Warner in The Facts of Life develops a one-show gambling addiction in a 1986 episode. At the end, she swears it off only for a woman behind her to hit the jackpot using the same machine. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Lent episode of Father Ted, while Ted's smoking and Jack's drinking have been previously established, Father Dougal's addiction to roller blading only exists in this episode. However, as the whole series runs on Negative Continuity and Rule of Funny, this scarcely seems to matter.
  • An odd example from 24 in that Jack's heroin addiction from season three is dealt with over multiple episodes, but since those episodes take place over one day, he really should be suffering for far more than the first few hours. But then, many examples can be taken from the show where people get over things (emotionally or physically) way faster than they should realistically be able to - Tony having major surgery after being shot but getting straight back to work just a couple of hours later, for example. The heroin thing was handwaved by Jack being given some vague other drug that would mask the withdrawal symptoms for about a day, i.e. the rest of the season, after the writers realized it was becoming more trouble than it was worth.
  • Eri in Tensou Sentai Goseiger is revealed to be very messy and lazy in Epic 9, causing her to clash with Moune as part of their focus episode. These bad habits are never mentioned before or since.
  • For the Glee episode "The Power of Madonna", the boys are suddenly shown mis-treating the girls in various ways to a highly exaggerated extent, in order to setup the feminist message of the episode. This is incredibly jarring because, for instance, Artie is shown being rude and misogynistic to Tina, even though he has never displayed this attitude before.
    • Glee does this a lot, honestly. A few other examples include Mercedes developing a borderline eating disorder (cured by a granola bar and a "Don't worry, you're beautiful" talk), Rachel becoming self-conscious about her big nose (cured by a song and dance number), everyone becoming a heavy drinker (cured by solemn talk from Mr. Schue), Ryder suddenly having crippling dyslexia (which isn't cured, it's just sort of... not mentioned again), Tina all of a sudden being jealous of Rachel (cured when she's promised solos next year, which incidentally never happens)
      • Although, in regards to Ryder's dyslexia, he was a fairly new character and he was set up as a poor student despite being smart before hand. But his dyslexia is never mentioned again until early next season where he's able to read perfectly now.
  • Stumpy's gambling addiction isn't mentioned at all in season one of Carnivŕle, even though by the beginning of the second series he has the debt collectors after him and a $400 debt (in old-timey Great Depression-era money). Adjusted for inflation, $400 in 1934 would be worth about $6443.73 in 2010's dollars.
  • In one Very Special Episode of Boy Meets World, Shawn gets drunk for the first time and then has a drinking problem for about a week before his friends convince him to give up drinking altogether. However, he does turn back to alcohol in an episode two seasons later after he learns some devastating news, though only for that episode.
  • In one episode of Alice, Alice, Flo, and Vera all try to help each other kick their previously-unmentioned vices: Alice eats too many sweets, Flo drinks too much coffee, and Vera very uncharacteristically smokes. None of these vices, or the fact that at the end of the episode, they had all switched vices, was ever mentioned again.
  • In the Community episode "Regional Holiday Music", Glee Club instructor Mr. Rad insists that Britta play the part of a mute tree, and when we finally see Britta sing her awkward song, we understand why - she's terrible. Thing is, we've heard Britta sing in other episodes. We hear Britta sing in the very next scene. She's not terrible at all unless the plot requires it.
  • The The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Mary's Insomnia" has Mary turning to sleeping pills to get over a new-found case of insomnia, becoming dependent on them, and getting over her addiction, all within one 25-minute episode.
  • Subverted in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dee and Dennis spend an episode addicted to crack, but by the end they're off to a recovery program. In later episodes, no mention is made of their previous addiction... until "Frank's Pretty Woman," where they encounter crack again. Dennis immediately flees the scene, saying that it's not a safe place for him, then soon afterwards convinces Mac that crack is awesome and they should go get some.
    • Actually, it usually gets brought up when relevant. Such as in "The Gang Gets Whacked," where Dee and Charlie start doing cocaine, and Charlie says they'll be fine as they already got over their crack (Dee) and glue-sniffing (Charlie) addictions. Dee counters that *she* beat crack, but Charlie did glue just that morning. They continue doing coke regardless. Either way, we never get episodes about anyone actually working through an addiction, it'll just be said to have happened offscreen.
  • CeCe Jones in one episode of Shake It Up is revealed to be dyslexic. Although she is portrayed throughout as Book Dumb, the dyslexia is never mentioned again. This is an Actor Allusion, since Bella Thorne suffers from this in Real Life.
  • House of Anubis- In season 2 Sibuna all admit that they have phobias that make it hard to get through one of the tasks. These phobias came out of nowhere, and were fixed pretty quickly. Alfie's phobia, (Claustrophobia) at least, was mentioned again in season 3, and Amber's bug phobia was mentioned in passing earlier on. But the rest of them? Never mentioned again.
  • In an episode of Mama's Family, Thelma Harper becomes addicted to the local home shopping network and starts filling the house with useless stuff. After failing to make her stop, the rest of the family comes up with an idea: They agree to watch the shopping show with her, and whenever she tries to buy something, scream "NO!" and hit her over the head. It works, as the home shopping bug doesn't come up in any following episodes.
  • Frasier: Happens to Niles a few times. One episode sees him become obsessed with one of his nephew Freddy's videogames; another has him develop a fast food addiction.
  • A Very Special Episode of Hannah Montana reveals that Oliver Oken has Type 1 diabetes and cannot eat sugar. The issue is never mentioned again after the episode (which was a rewrite of a previous unaired diabetes-centered episode criticized in test screenings by medical professionals for getting various facts wrong about the condition).

    Webcomics 
  • Inverted and possibly subverted in the webcomic Narbonic, where Dave's chain-smoking habit is established early on and continually referenced. However, after Dave goes back in time and alters the event that causes him to start smoking, he is surprised to find that he has no addiction at all... and the other characters assure him he never did, smoking was never relevant to any of their adventures, and they are confused when he brings it up. The author even devotes a filler comic to two fans explaining how the previous plots where his habit was a key point make sense without it.
  • Subverted in Unshelved. A storyline deals with Colleen quitting smoking — when there was no indication of her being a smoker before, and the other characters are surprised to hear about it. At the end of the storyline, it turns out this is because she quit decades ago, when she was still a teenager — she made it sound current as an excuse for being rude to a patron at the library.

    Web Original 
  • Phelous notes this trope in his review of Mortal Combat Conquest. In an episode where Siro must overcome his pride, Phelous notes that the character has never seemed particularly proud before, has nonsensical motivations in the episode, and actually seems to become more egotistical in later episodes.

    Western Animation 
  • The Garfield and Friends episode "Sales Resistance" revolves around Garfield's obsession with buying useless stuff off the Shopping Channel - an obsession which he has only in this episode.
  • Danny Phantom does this frequently, with Danny himself being the usual suspect.
    • Tucker had one of these in "Doctor's Disorders." He had a horrible fear of hospitals that we'd never seen or heard of until he had to wear a paper bag over his head just to walk past the nurse's office.
  • The Simpsons has been doing this every week for the past decade. Though some have come to receive Continuity Nods every now and then. One memorable aversion came with Marge's gambling problem, which was expected to become forgotten by the next episode like most but has been managed to be referenced countless times. In some cases, outside of the show.
    • One of the most glaring examples of this in the episode "Fear of Flying", which suddenly introduced Marge's titular phobia and linked it to several incidents in her childhood despite an earlier episode ("Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington") having had the family go on a flight with no incident whatsoever.
    • Also a Running Gag in the form of Homer's "life-long ambition" changing every time it comes up, and Marge pointing this out.
    • One episode had Bart's hellion tendencies stemming from Homer's inability to punish Bart for his bad behavior. The same Homer who routinely strangles him for misbehaving.
      • Which was then the focus of another episode when he went to a parenting class because strangling Bart as punishment was inappropriate.
    • Both Homer and Marge had separate displays of homophobia, punctuated even further by both of them showing the opposite opinion in each other's bouts.
    • Girls Just Want to Have Sums has the extremely common, and extremely annoying, case of this trope where male characters become inexplicably misogynistic in order to justify a Straw Feminist taking over the school so they can preach a message about gender equality. While Bart and Homer have been sexist in the past, Principle Skinner, despite acknowledging in the past that Lisa is the best student in the school, makes a crack about a former student's less-than-perfect Math grades being because she's a girl, setting off the events of the episode.
  • One of the most horrid cases takes place in the later seasons of Static Shock. In one of several Very Special Episodes, Adam Evans (aka Rubber-Band Man) out of nowhere suddenly has dyslexia, and from what we're told, has had it since he was a child. And not just a mild case for that matter, more like sees a stop sign written in Arabic type. The episode ends with Static and Adam giving a brief speech about dyslexia a la And Knowing Is Half the Battle and Adam's reading disorder is never brought up again. This is particularly egregious, since Adam was previously shown reading. In fact, one episode had him mention aloud (with nobody around for him to be trying to lie to) "I still have all this fan-mail to read" as he picks up, opens, and begins to read said mail (even more of a retcon since when his dyslexia appears in this episode, the fact that none of his fan-mail was open becomes a clue that he could not read).
  • Futurama:
    • In one episode, Bender reveals that he cannot get up if he is knocked onto his back. By the end of the episode, he learns how to overcome this.
      • Lampshaded in the episode, providing the page quote.
    • One episode gave Bender an obsession with being remembered - something he'd never even hinted that he might have had before. It never came up again.
    • In another episode, four of Bender's ten most frequently used words were words he only used in that episode. (Obviously, a parody. Plus with the bonus that some of said words were added into his regular slew of catch phrases.)
      • Hot diggity daffodil!
    • Bender's irrational hatred of Nibbler lasts exactly one episode.
    • In the beginning of "Neutopia" every male Planet Express employee is suddenly misogynist, and all the female employees suddenly act like stereotypical women. It probably was just to get the plot going, but still.
      • There's also the earlier episode of Amazonian Women in the Mood, where Fry becomes as chauvinistic as Zapp Brannigan, despite usually being a well-meaning idiot. The two episodes are far apart enough to be a case of this trope.
    • In "Benderama" Bender is psychotically lazy, to the point that it's his only defining trait in that episode.
    • The human crew's sudden (and inconsistent) robot racism in Fear of a Bot Planet.
    Fry: So let me get this straight. This planet is completely uninhabited?
    Bender: No, it's inhabited by robots.
    Fry: Oh, kinda like how a warehouse is inhabited by boxes.
    • Leela and Amy are suddenly extremely vitriolic and competitive towards one another in "The Butterjunk Effect", when they've got along fine in every other episode. Made even weirder by the fact that Fry states that they've always been this way. While Amy and Leela did have a somewhat vitriolic relationship before, it seemed to be mostly Amy having No Social Skills instead of her intentionally trying to piss Leela off, and Leela would normally respond with an annoyed expression. In this episode, her jabs are entirely intentional and Leela's responses are a lot more direct.
    • In "The Prisoner of Benda" Amy is suddenly an extreme glutton.
    • In the first Anthology of Interest, Leela is suddenly very inhibited and unimpulsive. While the Straight Man of the group, she definitely had moments of impulsiveness (such as ejecting a delivery mid-flight just so she could rush to do something else) and said episode stood out as even weirder as later episodes would make her overly impulsive.
  • Haven't seen enough episodes to be sure, but an episode of The New Woody Woodpecker Show, "Automatic Woody", has Woody dreaming about eating "Butterscotch Finger Pies", and then waking up and finding tons of empty wrappers in the various places he's stashed some for midnight snacking, and then going through lots of trouble to buy some more.
  • Unfortunately, most of Kim Possible's Character Development is about getting a character flaw of the week that must be conquered by the end of the episode. This includes her being extremely competitive in one episode (never mentioned again) and telling white lies constantly (brought up but then presumably ignored, because it was never brought up again and she continued to do it).
  • Brenda's slovenliness was revealed in the same episode of Teamo Supremo as it was cured. (At least her desire to be a famous pop singer cropped up in more than one episode.)
  • The Producing Parker episode "The Skinny on Parker" had Parker developing anorexia and immediately getting over it after being force-fed a sandwich.
  • One episode of The Fairly Oddparents revealed that Trixie Tang was actually a tomboy who liked "boy things" but is embarassed to show that side of her to any of her friends in the popular crowd. Like a lot of things in this show brought up in just one episode, it was never mentioned again.
  • An episode of King of the Hill revolves around Hank's obsession with his guitar. Peggy claims that he pays more attention to the guitar than to her despite the fact that it's the only episode in which the guitar appears. It was eventually replaced with a similar vice: him treating the family dog Ladybird extremely well, sometimes better than he treats Bobby or Peggy. This one, however, stayed through the entire series.
    • She again does this when he was spending more time with Bobby who was doing well in Home Ec., though this was more from the longer-running character flaw of Peggy that she has to be the center of attention and acknowledged as the best at everything; Bobby taking up cooking was something she supported at first until it became clear he was better at it than her and getting more attention from Hank as a result.
    • They also had an episode in which the whole family took up smoking, and was over it by the end credits. It does go to the trouble of explaining that both Hank and Peggy were apparently smokers at some point in the past, at least. Hank does smoke once, in a much later episode (Hanky Panky) during a severely stressful situation.
  • In an episode of Total Drama Action, Trent demonstrates an unhealthy obsession with the number 9, which he claims he's had since childhood even though he never showed any signs of it in the previous season.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Beezy have a severe cell phone addiction which is never mentioned before or after. He never gets over it, in fact his addiction saves everyone.
  • In one episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Dale has the same reaction to chocolate that Monty usually has to cheese. It never really comes up before or after that mission.
  • In one episode of Slacker Cats Buckley becomes a gambling addict and there's no notion before that he has that sort of characteristic and it never happens again.
  • An episode of American Dad! reveals that Francine has a hatred of left-handed people. This is because she was originally left-handed as a child, but a nun she was raised by was convinced that lefties were evil and disciplined her into using her right. At the end of the episode when Steve and Hayley get her to accept the fact she's left-handed, she tries to get used to being a lefty again and handles tasks like you would expect a right-handed person doing tasks with their left for the first time would do, from writing on the shopping list illegibly to slitting Steve's throat with a butter knife (he got better).
    • Also, "The Wrestler" has Stan obsessed with his wrestling record from high school, with a room in his house devoted to the trophies, and Francine is sick of hearing about his wrestling career and touring his museum. Odd, then, that none of the previous 126 episodes had mentioned any of this. Lampshaded by Steve commenting that he's lived in the house all his life and has never seen the wrestling museum before.
    • "Pulling Double Booty" suddenly reveals that Hayley has severe anger issues when being dumped (by "severe", I mean "rampaging death machine"), even though she was dumped by an illegal immigrant in "American Dream Factory" and harmed nobody (though she did call the FBI to capture him), and yet the episode implies she's been The Berserker since she was a child.
      • One could argue it was a reference to her recurring hypocrite role; given her tendency to go through men rather coldly, it seems perfectly in character for her to cry hellfire when someone does it to her.
  • In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Melman the giraffe suddenly develops deep feelings for Gloria the hippo. Nothing of the sort was mentioned in the first film. A flashback at the beginning of the second film shows that, even as children, Melman had a crush on Gloria. Additionally, an inverse case with Melman's hypochondria in the first film, which is completely gone by the sequel. The only hint appears to be his great knowledge of medicine.
  • The Powerpuff Girls go through this in "Candy is Dandy." When the Mayor rewards them with candy for beating up criminals, they suddenly become addicted. Soon, the girls are beating up villains all the time, even when they aren't breaking the law, to get their fix. But, when Mojo Jojo figures this out and steals the Mayor's candy jar just to be mean, the girls beat him within an inch of his life, only for Blossom to finally wake up and stop the beating after seeing the monsters they've became. The girls admit their problem to the Mayor, who congratulates them for honesty and rewards them... with candy.
  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, the boys are portrayed as innocents who don't take up swearing until seeing the Terrence & Phillip movie. They cursed just as much before and after then.
    • Justified with Stan's dad's single-episode struggle with alcoholism. He was pulled over for Drunk Driving and forced to attend AA despite not really being an alcoholic. Impressionable joiner that he is, he takes the "admitting you are helpless to help yourself" part rather too readily to heart, and descends into full-blown dependency, convinced he has a terminal illness that forces him to drink.
  • Adventure Time's Finn falls into the dark, foul abyss that is shipping addiction in "All the Little People". While it only lasts an episode, there's a FOUR MONTH time skip in the middle, in which Jake moves out after finding Finn's behavior creepy.
    • Another episode randomly gave Jake life-threatening levels of ADHD, which are never brought up before or after.
  • Goofy is randomly a Big Eater in the Goof Troop episode "The Incredible Bulk." Despite this being a large part of the plot of this episode, it is never brought up before the episode or again and other episodes portray Goofy more logically as a light eater. The other characters who are more consistently played as Big Eaters (Pete and PJ to a lesser extent) are shown to be astonished by his appetite in this episode too.
  • Rufus of The Dreamstone spent the majority of the series as an almost sickly sweet Hero Antagonist, however on the rare occasion one of the heroes was required to say or do the wrong thing and get handed An Aesop, he would usually take the role. Amberley would sometimes join in on this as well.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic involves this fairly often:
    • The "Mysterious Mare Do Well" episode Flanderizes Rainbow Dash's (usually harmless) tendencies towards being boastful to insane levels just make an Aesop about humility work.
    • "The Best Night Ever" takes Fluttershy's Friend to All Living Things status and uses it to portray her as reacting like a yandere to the Gala animals' rejection of her companionship.
    • "Sonic Rainboom" takes Rarity's vanity to an extreme that results in her focusing more on showing off her wings than on helping Rainbow Dash. note 
    • Spike the dragon is normally good, but his envy in "Owl's Well That Ends Well," at the attention Owlowicious is getting, drives him to do some very morally objectionable things, such as planting a fake mouse corpse to try to make it look like Owlowicious killed the mouse. note 
      • A more threatening temporary villainy occurs during "Secret Of My Excess," when his greedy dragon nature gets out of control. note 
  • In Sonic Sat AM episodes "Sonic and the Secret Scrolls" and "Warp Sonic", the team's Ditherer and Straight Man Princess Sally becomes as reckless and pompous as Sonic. Punctuated in the former by Sonic randomly taking on a more cautious persona instead.
  • In Thomas the Tank Engine, the usually kindly and well behaved Edward started to fall victim to these in order to fit into the show's increasing Aesop structure. Most evident in "Edward Strikes Out", where he suddenly develops a rather callous case of Fantastic Racism towards Rocky. Later episodes seem to settle for making him rather self conscious, which was at least vaguely referred to in the original episodes (if not nearly to the same extent).
  • X-Men: Evolution: In Walk on the Wild Side, after Scott makes an uncharacteristic joke about Damsels in Distress, Jean becomes a staunch Straw Feminist who's 'sick of always being treated like the weaker sex', even though she's never been treated with anything but respect and admiration in the past. It comes out of nowhere to justify a 'women are strong' aesop that seemed to just be an excuse to put tight leather outfits on underage girls.


Compressed AbstinenceThis Is Your Index on DrugsContemplating Your Hands
Compressed AbstinenceCharacter Flaw IndexCondescending Compassion
Compressed AbstinenceCharacters as DeviceConflict Killer
Compressed HairJust for PunConfusion Fu
Clueless AesopAn AesopDo Not Do This Cool Thing

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